IMCRC Design Robotics project wins Excellence in Innovation Award

CRC Association’s 2020 Award presented to Urban Art Projects, QUT and RMIT University.

Melbourne, 21 October 2021: The Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre
(IMCRC) congratulates its ‘Design Robotics for Mass Customisation’ team on winning the
Cooperative Research Centre Association’s 2020 Award for Excellence in Innovation.

Presented at this year’s Cooperative Research Australia (CRA) Collaborate | Innovate 2021
conference, the award recognises outstanding examples of research collaboration that address
industry-specific problems for the benefit of Australian industry and the economy.

With funding from IMCRC, in 2017, Brisbane-based design and manufacturing company Urban
Art Projects (UAP) embarked on an $8 million design robotics research project in partnership with
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and RMIT University (RMIT).

By investing in robotic vision systems and developing smart user-interfaces, UAP streamlined its
ability to manufacture bespoke artwork and architecture pieces here in Australia. As part of the
project, UAP also opened its factory doors to local manufacturing SMEs to share research
outcomes and education on how robots and other emerging technologies can assist in
manufacturing high-value products. This ‘open innovation’ approach led to the formation of the
Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub in Brisbane.

QUT Associate Professor Jared Donovan, who accepted the award on behalf of the Design
Robotics team, thanked all participants for their contributions to the project.

“In the IMCRC Design Robotics project, we set out to ‘Make Robots See’ – to combine the power
of robotic vision and design-led manufacturing to enable highly custom and bespoke
manufacturing,” he said.

“This is the 30th anniversary of the CRC program and innovative, collaborative, industry-led,
research is more important now than ever.

“As a researcher, it has been an absolute honour to have worked with such a fantastic industry
partner as UAP. I also want to thank the teams at IMCRC, RMIT and QUT. Without you this
would not have been possible.”

Matthew Tobin, Founder and Managing Director of UAP, who couldn’t attend the award
presentation, said that the Design Robotics project had been transformational for UAP.

“The outcomes and cultural change that working with QUT, RMIT and IMCRC has delivered to
UAP have fundamentally changed the way we think about manufacturing and will continue to
influence our digital transformation in the years to come,” he said.

“We think about the University staff as explorers, and we think about the IMCRC framework as a
discipline. And both those things add great value to our transformation journey.”

CEO and Managing Director of IMCRC, David Chuter, congratulated the Design Robotics team
on being recognised for their outstanding achievement in addressing the gap between innovation
in digital design and the realities of manufacturing.

“The Excellence in Innovation Award is a well-deserved acknowledgment of UAP’s bold move to
break with design manufacturing tradition, and the Design Robotics team that pushed so many
boundaries by pairing human creativity with the efficiency of robots,” said Chuter.

“With many CRC projects, you only start to see the impact of the research years later. The
Design Robotics project is different; not only has it already helped UAP to achieve a greater
competitive advantage through high-value product development and transformed manufacturing
processes, but also by being the catalyst for establishing the Advanced Manufacturing in
Robotics (ARM) Hub where manufacturers can explore robotics and design-led manufacturing.

“I also want to acknowledge and congratulate Cooperative Research Australia for supporting our
industry with this Award, and on reaching its 30-year milestone of facilitating research

The CRA presented three Awards for Excellence in Innovation. IMCRC also congratulates the
CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity and the Oral Health CRC, for being recognised for
their successful work in research collaboration and translation.


IMCRC is an independent and for-impact cooperative research centre with a successful, proven
and scalable model for incentivising research and business partnerships that drives
transformative commercial outcomes for participating Australian manufacturers. To date, IMCRC
has successfully co-invested in more than 60 industry-led R&D projects, catalysing around $220
million in transformative manufacturing research. Find out more at

About UAP

Urban Art Projects (UAP) is design and manufacturing company that is recognised world-round
as a leader in public art and architectural design solutions. UAP assists in every stage of the
design process, with facilities including design studios, robotics and innovation hubs, factories,
foundries, and an international network of engineers, installers and suppliers, extending the full
length of a project’s development and lifespan. More at

About QUT

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is a major Australian university with a truly global
outlook. Home to nearly 50,000 students, we’re providing real-world infrastructure, learning and
teaching, and graduate skills to the next generation of change-makers. More at

About RMIT

RMIT is a global university of technology, design and enterprise. One of Australia’s original
tertiary institutions, RMIT University enjoys an international reputation for excellence in education,
research, and engagement with industry and community. More at

About Cooperative Research Australia (CRA)

The CRA strengthens and promotes the transformative potential of collaborative, industry-led
research through knowledge exchange, professional development and advocacy. The CRA was
established in 1994 as the Cooperative Research Centres Association. More at

For more information, please contact:
Jana Kuthe, Communications, Marketing and Events Manager, IMCRC
+61 416 735 666



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